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Entourage effect

The Entourage Effect, Terpenes & Decarboxylation – Explained

Have you heard about the ‘entourage effect’? First discovered by an Israeli scientist called Raphael Mechoulam, it suggests that the many cannabinoids found in cannabis plants can work in synergy to boost one another’s effects. The idea is that, while they’re powerful alone, these compounds may be stronger when they work as an ‘entourage’. And, with around 100 found in the plant, there are bountiful possibilities available.  

In particular, Mechoulam’s research found that CBD is able to interact with THC, as well as numerous other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. But, wait – what <i>are</i> terpenes? And how does this interaction take place? Here, we delve deeper into the ‘entourage effect’, terpenes and a clever process known as decarboxylation… 

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in a range of plants, fruits and herbs. They give oranges their zing, lavender its floral fragrance, and cannabis its earthy scent. But they’re responsible for so much more than how plants smell. Around 200 terpenes have been discovered in cannabis plants, each interacting with CBD and THC in different ways.  

It’s believed these terpenes can maximise the potential of the cannabinoids they’re mixed with, while also aiding in the protection of the cannabis plant. For example, Beta Caryophyllene, which contributes to the peppery aroma in black pepper and Thai basil, also maintains the health of the plant by repelling insects and bacteria. 

Interestingly, Beta Caryophyllene is also one of the unique terpenes that may interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates mood, immune response, your nervous system, and so many other functions. Beta Caryophyllene is able to bind to a receptor found in the ECS called CB2, and ‘activate’ it thanks to a process known as decarboxylation (but more on that below).

Some terpenes, such as Myrcene, may also make it easier for CBD to enter your bloodstream. This clever compound is believed to enable cannabinoids to be absorbed faster than they would on their own. Put simply, terpenes are thought to offer a wealth of effects that may ‘bolster’ CBD. The fact that they contribute to fresh aromas is just an added bonus.

So, What is Decarboxylation?

The process of decarboxylation helps to activate the dormant chemicals found in cannabis, so you can easily access and experience the effects of the plant’s many cannabinoids and terpenes. THC and CBD can only be absorbed into the body after decarboxylation has taken place, so this process usually takes place when the CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant.

entourage effect cbd

Heat is one of many decarboxylation processes that transform cannabinoid acids into hydrocarbons, which are more easily available for use in the body. One of the most common can Enabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) which, when decarbed, converts to THC; the psychoactive chemical that produces the ‘high’ sensation associated with cannabis. The decarboxylation process also converts cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) into CBD, so it can be added to oils, capsules and other edibles. 

Many of the CBD products you buy, use and love feature already-decarbed compounds, so all you have to do is choose the best format for you. The rest is taken care of. 

Decarboxylation, CBD and the ‘Entourage Effect’

We know what you’re thinking: what does decarboxylation 

have to do with the ‘entourage effect’? The synergistic properties of CBD and other compounds can only be unlocked when they have been decarbed or ‘activated’. Typically, we start with ‘raw’ cannabis (which means it has not been dried, cured or heated), then we decarb it using heat, being careful to protect those aromatic terpenes. 

It’s worth remembering that not every CBD blend you try will feature terpenes. Some brands filter them out when they process the cannabis plant, so they’re left with a pure CBD isolate extract. In order to keep those terpenes intact, they need to be handled with care and extracted at <i>just</i> the right tempe

rature. Fewer terpenes are lost at lower temperatures, so finding the correct balance is crucial. In fact,  the maximum temperature for terpenes to survive the burning process is 210 degrees centigrade – something that lab scientists have to keep in mind when drawing out that CBD goodness. 

Once CBD has undergone the decarboxylation process, it can be mixed with a variety of cannabis oils to create unique food supplements. These include CBD oils, CBD capsules and even CBD topicals. If the terpenes have been carefully extracted and protected (meaning they haven’t been burnt away), these CBD products may also help you unleash the ‘entourage effect’. 

How to Reap the Rewards of the ‘Entourage Effect’

Not all CBD blends harness the array of compounds needed to achieve the ‘entourage effect’. Look for those that are clearly labelled to avoid any confusion. To make it easy for you, we created our best-selling Entourage Collection, featuring cannabinoid-rich oils and edibles in varying strengths. Each capsule and oil fuses broad spectrum cannabis extract with a raft of terpenes, which are carefully chosen to maximise the effects of the CBD inside.

Not sure where to start? Follow our guide below to decode your ideal dosage.

For a low ‘starter’ dose: When taking CBD for the first time, we recommend you start with a lower dosage at first, then gradually increase the amount as and when you feel you need to. The 300mg Dutch Oil Spray is a ‘beginner’s bottle’, giving you just under 5mg of CBD per spritz. Spray it underneath your tongue, allow it to absorb, then swallow whatever oil is left. If you prefer the ease of a capsule, opt for the Dutch Capsules, which contain 10mg of CBD per pill.

For a higher dose: If you find yourself spritzing the 800mg formula multiple times to reach your ideal dosage, it’s more efficient (and cost-effective) to opt for a higher dose. The 1400mg Entourage Oil Spray gives you 8.13mg of CBD per spritz, while the Double Strength Entourage Capsules are powered by 20mg of CBD per capsule.

For the highest dose: As and when you feel you’re ready to reach for the highest dose of CBD, opt for the 2000mg Entourage Oil Spray. It’s supercharged with 11.62mg of CBD per spritz (again, underneath your tongue). Meanwhile, the Triple Strength Entourage Capsules kickstart your day with 30mg of CBD per capsule, combined with an infusion of coconut oil for extra absorbency.

A note on dosage: We recommend you take no more than 70mg of CBD per day. Keep this in mind when deciding on your daily dosage – especially when combining various products.

Up next: Is topical CBD the answer to soothing your achy muscles? Find out with our CBD balm guide.